This Easy Broccoli Pesto Recipe is a quick and simple way to make a versatile and healthy pesto. Perfect for sandwiches, on pizza, to use as a dip with snacks, and so much more! Best of all, it brings all of the nutrition of broccoli and only takes 10 minutes to prepare!
👩🏻🍳 Why You'll Love this Broccoli Pesto Recipe
I made my own pesto! I am so excited! My whole adult life, I have used store-bought pesto. It never even occurred to me to make my own. But since I have entered the food blogging world, I am making from scratch many things that I used to buy.
If you have a food processor, pesto really is the easiest thing, and then you can experiment with variations!
This easy broccoli pesto recipe is a new take on a classic recipe that delivers a whole lot of extra flavor and nutrition thanks to the broccoli. It's perfect to use on sandwiches and for snacks, but I'm sure you can find 101 more uses for it too!
Ready in 10 minutes with no cooking, you'll impress you friends and family with this homemade broccoli pesto sauce.
🥘 Ingredients Needed
For a complete list of ingredients, please refer to the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- broccoli florets - gives your pesto a delicious twist of flavor.
- basil leaves - pesto is usually made with basil for a refreshing, green taste.
- pine nuts - pairs well with the basil and gives pesto its signature flavor.
- Parmesan cheese - balances out the flavors of the broccoli and basil with cheesy saltiness.
- lemon juice - gives your pesto some acidity and a nice hint of citrus.
- minced garlic - garlic goes with everything!
- olive oil - a common ingredient in any pesto.
Please note: This is an overview of the instructions. You'll find the complete instructions in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- Place the broccoli and basil leaves in a food processor (or blender), then pulse until they're finely chopped.
- Add the pine nuts and repeat, making sure they're well incorporated.
- Now add the Parmesan cheese, garlic, salt, and lemon juice, and process until everything is combined.
- Pour in olive oil and blend until mixture is nice and smooth.
Pesto tastes herby and fresh thanks to the basil, and the cheese and pine nuts also give it a salty richness. The olive oil provides a certain amount of grassiness, and in the case of this recipe, the broccoli adds, well, broccoli flavor!
Yes! Since the base of pesto is herbs and vegetables, it could definitely be considered healthy. There's a fair amount of olive oil, which is a healthy fat, but too much of anything can be unhealthy. If you want an even healthier pesto, cut back slightly on the olive oil and you'll be golden.
Pesto doesn't require any heat to be made initially. After that, it can be used in things like hot sandwiches, on pizza, pasta, and more! If you cook it, the basil can brown or turn darker in color, which can change the flavor of your pesto.
Not entirely. A fairly uniform consistency is what you're going for, but some texture is key to a delicious pesto.
Typically, this is a sign that your pesto has been exposed to air for too long and is starting to turn. Anything not submerged in the oil will go bad faster, and when you start to see browning, this usually indicates that the flavor won't be as good.
In terms of flavor, that's up to you! Some recipes work great with either, and some will be better with one or the other. Regarding nutrition, there are some pros and cons to each. Tomato sauce is a bit lower in calories, but pesto has more to offer in terms of nutrients and fiber.
Homemade pesto will last in your fridge for a week or so. No need to reheat it when it's time to use it again. If you're using it in a hot recipe like pasta, just stir it in and the heat from the dish will warm it right up.
Pesto can also be frozen for 3-4 months or so. In order to thaw, it's best to leave it in the fridge for several hours and overnight if possible, or leave it out to let it come up to room temperature.
💭 Helpful Tips
- If your pesto is a bit on the bitter side, try adding more cheese or pine nuts to balance it out. You can also try blending in a more neutral type of greens like spinach to neutralize the bitterness.
- The same is true if your pesto is too oily; add some more greens or nuts to fix the ratios.
- Here's a list of things you can use pesto sauce for: chicken, pasta, pizza, salad dressing, salmon, mac and cheese, snack dip, and so much more!
This broccoli pesto recipe is the perfect way to add some extra flavor and nutrition to a myriad of dishes without extra fuss or stress!
- Don't want to use pine nuts? There are other nuts that will provide similar flavors like toasted cashews, pistachios, or toasted almonds.
- You could also roast your broccoli before using it in your pesto in order to replicate some of the flavor that would be missing without the pine nuts.
🥗 Suggested Dishes to Use Pesto
Here are some great recipes that will taste even better if you add some of this broccoli pesto sauce!
🥦 Other Pesto Recipes
These recipes call for pesto already, and this broccoli pesto sauce is a great way to add a little twist and some extra nutrition!
Check out this story on how to make Broccoli Pesto!
Broccoli Pesto Recipe
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📋 Recipe Card
Easy Broccoli Pesto
- Combine broccoli florets and basil leaves in a food processor or blender, and pulse until the broccoli and basil are chopped very finely.
- Add the pine nuts to the food processor and continue to pulse until they are also chopped very finely.
- Add the Parmesan cheese, salt, lemon juice, and garlic, and process until well combined.
- Add the olive oil and process until the mixture is smooth.
- I use a scant 1/3 cup olive oil to minimize calories and fat. If you want a more traditional pesto, use a little more olive oil, up to 1/2 cup.
- Is your basil wilted? Place it in cool water for 20-30 minutes, then pat the leaves dry before using.
- Add more cheese or pine nuts to fix bitter pesto, or blend in neutral greens like spinach or more basil. This can also help save pesto that is too oily.
- Use pesto for chicken, pasta, salad dressing, pizza, fish, as a dip, and more!
Update Notes: This post was originally published in March 2015, but was republished with tips, step by step photos, and a recipe change in March 2021.
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